A petition has been started against North Lanarkshire Council’s plan to impose car parking fees in Kilsyth.
As previously reported the council’s Policy and Strategy Committee has agreed to introduce a payment scheme for the use of its car parks in Airdrie, Bellshill, Coatbridge, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth, Motherwell and Wishaw.
The scheme will operate Mondays to Saturdays with charges of: 80p up to 1 hour; £1.20 up to 2 hours; £1.60 up to 3 hours; £2.00 up to 4 hours; and £4.00 for 5 or more hours.
It is estimated this will cost around £1.1 million to set up, and generate a net income of around £407,000 a year.
Kilsyth resident Kevin Kane has already collected over 1900 signatures as part of a growing local campaign to reverse the decision.
He said: “The residents and business owners I have spoken with are in uproar over the decision to include four car parks close to the main street in Kilsyth as part of wider measures to charge people to park their cars across seven towns in North Lanarkshire.
“We should be enabling people to participate in the town and council policies should reflect a desire to see Kilsyth thrive socially and economically.
“A measure like this will have a detrimental impact on footfall, on local businesses, and it will rip the heart out of any notion of community. This is an unreasonable and irrational decision and it must be overturned.”
Lynn Rennie of Rennie’s Bakery in Main Street expressed deep concern about the plans and the significant negative effects these measures could have on many businesses within the area
She said: “This process failed to give sufficient consideration to the individual circumstances of Kilsyth and as a result, failed to recognise a number of key factors.
“This includes a shared concern among business owners in Kilsyth town centre that by introducing charges to these car parks the council risks discouraging the use of local businesses and threatening the livelihoods of employers and employees within the area.
“The overwhelmingly negative public reaction to this decision is indicative of a general feeling amongst the people of Kilsyth that these measures are neither necessary nor appropriate for the town.”
Councillor Claire Barclay successfully argued for Cumbernauld Village to be removed from the scheme, and Councillor Mark Kerr wants Kilsyth to receive similar treatment.
He said: “I am not ashamed to ask for special treatment and exemption for people and businesses in Kilsyth. For the council to have long term economic benefit from Kilsyth it needs to let it grow.”
“I will do everything within my power to help overturn this decision”.
The town’s parliamentarians also believe Kilsyth should be exempt from the parking charges.
Cumbernauld and Kilsyth MSP Jamie Hepburn said: “The decision is likely to discourage visitors to the town, and subsequently impact local businesses in the area.
“Although I understand that there are difficulties for any local authority to manage demand on public car parks I do not believe that this is necessary for Kilsyth, nor I do not believe it will have a positive impact for the town.”
Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East MP Stuart McDonald MP added: “The introduction of these charges may well have the impact of driving footfall away from using Kilsyth town centre.
“This is something that no one wants to see – North Lanarkshire Council included presumably – so I would urge them to carefully reconsider the introduction of these unnecessary and potentially damaging charges.”
To sign the petition visit www.change.org/p/north-lanarkshire-council-reverse-the-decision-to-apply-off-street-car-parking-charges-in-kilsyth.